tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 29, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast tonight, on our broadcast tonight, not over yet. far from it, irene brings new misery to new england. a 100 year flood in vermont. power outages in every town in connecticut. tonight, the destruction that stretches from north carolina all the way to maine. the terrorist who killed so many innocent americans and was then set free. where is he tonight? the exclusive nbc news interview with dick cheney. when it came time to go to war, who was really the decider? and a stunning moment from a stunning woman last night that got the country talking. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. irene hasn't been a hurricane since yesterday. and it's long gone by now. way up and over canada. but you would not believe the damage it's still unleashing over new england. this comes after it already chewed up the shoreline along the eastern seaboard. tonight, in the wake of irene, at least 37 people are dead. five million americans at least are without power from north carolina on up to maine. the estimates at damage begin at $2 billion and go up from there. with so many americans already in the dark from this, the danger tonight is rising floodwaters from upstate new york into new england. we begin tonight with jim cantore of the weather channel in lower bartonsville, vermont. and jim, not only did you grow up around there, last night you predicted this would be the worst hurricane in, of all places, vermont history. and that's coming true.
>> yeah, usually storms weaken pretty quickly, brian, and accelerate up through new england. this one was so big and it took its time. this is the result of a flash flood. one of the iconic covered bridges that's been lost here in vermont that would take you from lower bartonsville across to the town of chester in seconds. now that trip takes 15 minutes because you have to go around the williams river. we have 200 or more roads tonight closed. and there isn't one inch of vermont that hasn't been touched by this. nbc's ron allen has more. >> reporter: irene left a wake of destruction in a mountainous land-locked state so far north, many never dreamed a tropical storm would strike. torrents of rain turned babbling brooks into raging rivers. >> fortunately we were spared the heavy winds from the hurricane. but this type of damage right here has got to be far more devastating in the long run. >> here it comes. oh my god. >> reporter: cars were sucked downstream.
this trailer home was shoved under a railroad bridge. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: an iconic covered bridge disappeared into a swollen river, washing away a century of history. dean hamilton has worked his family's farm all his 58 years. >> this is something that's never happened in my lifetime. >> how is it going in there? >> reporter: vermont's governor called it the state's worst flooding, perhaps, ever. >> we are convinced there are further challenges ahead, there will be more loss of life. >> reporter: at least two people already have died in the floodwaters. officials say several small communities, hundreds of people are still cut off and cannot be reached. and every major road in the state has some damage. brattleboro, known for its arts was covered in mud. alyssa's store was damaged but not her spirit. >> it's disheartening, but it's a wonderful community. and i feel like we're well-loved and everything will be okay.
>> reporter: in some places the floodwaters are still rising. ron allen, nbc news, brattleboro, vermont. >> and you have to go back to the late 1800s for when this bridge was first here, a wooden covered bridge. a very iconic symbol, rebuilt in the 1980s and now gone to mother nature's fast moving waters from last night. let's take a look at this hurricane. even though we didn't get to that big stature of category 3 or 4, this thing was a wrecking machine all the way from puerto rico, through the bahamas. here you can see it coming up through the carolinas on saturday morning, and then up through new england. it moved slow enough to produce significant rainfall. look at this area where we had significant flooding. huge areas all across new england. and there you see vermont sitting right there, brian. almost every inch, as i mentioned, recovering from flooding this evening. five all time record crests. in other words, the river has never gotten that high on rivers across the state of vermont.
>> well, jim, help a layperson out here. you and i were on the air most of the weekend tracking this storm. most people thought, enough already, this is the tail end, it was booking out of here. >> right. >> and frankly, this destruction in new england took a lot of us by surprise. did it take meteorologists by surprise? >> well, the problem was, this was really set up to be a problem. because there was so much rain up here. you and i actually talked about philadelphia and new york setting all time wettest augusts and that wet weather has continued all the way up through new england. when you start looking at the pictures and the rate of the rainfall, we're bringing a tropical system to the northern latitude, that always means trouble. that always means trouble. and as you can see from some of these pictures and some scenes here, just horrible scenes. i have to tell you, having grown up in through here, and seeing the quechee bridge, the fields in windsor, vermont, that i
played on so many times, it takes you by the heart. >> that bridge over vermont one of the most beautiful spots in all of new england. >> yes. >> jim cantore, thanks for your hard work, and again following this storm and its latest tributary. of course, this storm when it raced through new england, when it raced through the northern suburbs of new york city, it took so many people by surprise. and so many of those suburbs are a wasteland today. all you can hear are chainsaws. there's no lights, no power. the state of connecticut fits that description. anne thompson is in east haven, connecticut, for us tonight. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. this stretch of coastline in east haven suffered some of the most severe damage. but across the state, the problem is power. tonight 700,000 residents don't have it, and it looks like they're not going to get it any time soon.
irene spared no part of connecticut. there are power outages in every city and town. and despite more than 800 utility crews working around the clock, coming from as far away as florida and tornado ravaged joplin, missouri. >> we're working with utilities to see they get the assets in the state necessary to restore energy as quickly as possible. but it is just not going to be swift. >> reporter: the storm pelted connecticut with more than eight inches of rain. flooding the farmington river and parts of simsbury. floodwaters ruined dick russo's fairfield home. >> there's not much you can do, it came in too quick. >> reporter: 30 miles up the coast in east haven, residents anxious for information jammed a local firehouse. >> we have been hit with what i would consider a pretty extreme natural disaster. about 25 houses are a total loss. >> reporter: among them, the summer house 94-year-old gladys bought with her husband 60 years ago. >> i hope i can see something. >> reporter: from her car, she watched her daughter and
granddaughter look for mementos of a happier time. >> your memories are in your head and your heart, not necessarily in your home, so we're going to rebuild. >> reporter: kay shook at the sight of her home in ruins. >> this is a piece of paradise. >> reporter: ken davis is a year-round resident. >> i've never seen anything like this. >> reporter: today irene made even the simple task hard. inside ken sees floors covered with sand, furniture ruined, and then finds something more valuable. >> my son's wedding pictures. >> reporter: irene got them too. >> that bothers me more than the chair. >> reporter: the stories are just heart wrenching. now, to help police establish law and order, 1,600 national guardsmen are on hand. so some communities have lifted curfews they imposed during the storm. brian? >> at least 600,000 homes still out in just connecticut, they're telling us tonight. anne thompson from there. anne, thanks. and continuing now our survey of the damage, as you know, if you were watching any of the coverage, the jersey
shore got chewed up, and then, as we've been saying, on into the inner suburbs and upstate. michelle franzen, you may have seen riding the storm out on the boardwalk of asbury park. she's since relocated to manville, new jersey. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. residents are finally venturing out, and the water -- floodwaters are finally receding here in this small town. but not before, at its worst point, flooding a third of this town. record flooding here and all across the state, with the downed power lines and downed trees that are all leaving their mark. from above, you can see irene's destructive stamp across the garden state. >> it literally carved out the right shoulder -- >> reporter: a section of interstate 287 in northern new jersey washed away by the rising rockaway river. the roads were barely visible in parsippany, and flooded this hotel. rescue crews evacuated guests
from the knee-deep waters. further north, dramatic video of a flooded home burning this morning, officials believe due to a gas explosion. firefighters had to swim to the house in the evacuated zone. it was rough for these firefighters too, trying to walk around in their flooded firehouse. >> good afternoon -- >> reporter: new jersey's governor says the state is not out of the clear yet from record flooding. >> nine river locations have reached or passed record flooding levels. >> reporter: in neighboring pennsylvania, residents there are also struggling to cope. >> people can't get to work, they can't do anything. it's a real shame. >> reporter: up and down the coast, everything looks out of place. broken boats litter dry land, while cars were swallowed by raging waters. in new york's catskill mountains, a surreal scene. bales of hay floated down this quaint store-lined main street, looking more like giant marshmallows. meanwhile, rescue boats searched
for stranded residents. the state is also sending help, including 400 members of the national guard, and more than 100 state troopers. back in new jersey, newlyweds mike and julie desaro were stranded inside their home in manville, after the raritan river flooded the town. the home was spared, the couple was packed and planning to move when irene hit. they lost power, but not their good spirits. >> the top tier of our wedding cake is now completely defrosted. >> we'll eat that tonight. i think we'll survive. >> yeah. >> reporter: a sigh of relief, but also some frustration left as cleanup, a lot of it, gets underway. once residents return home they still may not have power. crews have been working around the clock to restore that power to more than 800,000 homes and businesses that lost it here in new jersey alone. brian? >> michelle, you and i both heard some complaints today,
this storm was somehow overhyped. but with 37 people dead, this area crippled and five million americans spending a monday night without power, if they have a standing home, that's a tough argument to make. michelle, thank you for that report from new jersey. north carolina, of course, is where irene first came ashore early saturday. at first damage was described as light, at least in local north carolina terms. that was before we learned 2,500 people were cut off from the rest of civilization. nbc's mark potter is in duck, north carolina, on the outer banks. mark, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian. six people were killed in north carolina. and the property damage estimate is around $688 million. here on the outer banks, business owners are cleaning up the debris from the hurricane. they hope to be back in business before the labor day weekend. that's the last big push of the tourist summer season. the biggest problem here right now is to the south on highway 12 where the wind driven waves breached the road there, cutting off those 2,500 residents from hatteras island from the rest of the outer banks. the electrical lines were also
cut, leaving the area without power. the only way back and forth now is by ferry. elsewhere on the outer banks the recovery is going more smoothly, because the damage there was relatively minimal. but again, back to that road, another problem is, the last time it was breached back in 2003, it took some two months to fix it. brian? >> unbelievable. the southern end of this damage. mark potter, thanks. and thanks for your reporting all weekend. in washington, d.c., tonight the image that caught the attention of so many of our viewers over the weekend, when our cameras found old glory had survived near hurricane conditions but was still flying over the u.s. capitol. if you know your rules on proper treatment of the flag, you're not supposed to fly a damaged flag or throw one out. so overnight it was taken down, burned and replaced. and tonight the colors are flying proudly again on a new flag. when our broadcast continues on a busy monday night, some of the other news of the day, including the lockerbie bomber
who killed so many americans on that pan am jet, and what we're learning about him tonight. and later, an nbc news exclusive with dick cheney. and a difference of opinion with president bush. and the big reveal that stole the show last night before the show even got started. i'm rob jones. quicken loans closed my loan fast. and i know a thing or two about fast. i purchased 3 homes with quicken loans. i wouldn't use anyone else. there were no hidden fees and no surprises. quicken loans is a lot like me --
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traffic moving. hospitals have power again. but one notorious patient has now left the hospital, abdelbaset al megrahi, found guilty of the 1988 lockerbie bombing, allegedly dying of cancer, and released by scotland two years ago. he is now home in tripoli, without adequate medical care, his brother says, slipping in and out of a coma. there's new evidence of gadhafi's brutality against his own people. in the central hospital today, 25-year-old amir aoon clings to life. he was one of gadhafi's prisoners, shot by his guards as rebels advanced. they tried to slit his throat, but the knife was too dull. abdel ragae was one of 200 prisoners marched out of his cell last thursday and shot by gadhafi loyalists. i think there were three of them, and they were shooting constantly. he was left for dead, he said, and at least 40 others were executed.
nearby, rebels uncover a huge weapons cache. gadhafi's stockpiled weapons in hidden stashes across the city, apparently preparing for a drawn-out battle in tripoli. this was a private farmhouse, it's filled with thousands of cases of ammunition. and gadhafi himself still at large is now a figure of ridicule here. pictured as a rat and in a toilet. at a checkpoint rebels search using a photograph of how gadhafi might look dressed as a woman. the portrait of a man who sheltered terrorists and executed prisoners, now sits in a trash heap by the roadside. richard engel, nbc news, tripoli. >> unbelievable. when we come back here tonight. what colin powell is saying about dick cheney, who appears to hold nothing back in his new book. we will hear from both men after this. people refer to jill as "that woman with the great smile." as a researcher, i refer to her
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members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for president bush. >> colin powell on this new cheney book. jamie gangel has conducted an exclusive interview with dick cheney prior to the release of this book. she's with us tonight from our washington newsroom. good evening, jamie. >> reporter: good evening, brian. dick cheney is blunt, unapologetic, but perhaps the biggest surprise is that the former vice president goes public with revelations about his old boss, including private conversations which conflict with accounts mr. bush has given. listen to the striking difference in how the two men describe the eve of the iraq war. president bush writes, i turned to the team gathered in the oval office and said, let's go. you write, the president kicked everyone else out of the oval office, looked at me and said, dick, what do you think we ought
to do? >> that's the way i recall it. and i was giving advice, i wasn't making the decision. he was making the decision. >> do you think these revelations will embarrass president bush? >> i don't know why. >> well, he's saying, let's go, i'm the leader. >> well, he was. >> but you're revealing that it didn't happen that way. he cleared out the office and said, dick, what do you think we should do? >> right. >> that's a very different picture. >> right. but then he made the decision. it wasn't my decision. >> don't you think it will embarrass him? that you point out the difference? >> i didn't set out to embarrass the president or not embarrass the president. >> that said, brian, this book is likely to reignite questions about just how much the decider in chief was relying on his adviser in chief along with more controversy about dick cheney. brian? >> boy, is this going to get interesting. jamie gangel, thanks.
and by the way, we're all curious to see the exclusive interview in its entirety on "dateline" tonight at 10:00, 9:00 central. and tomorrow morning on "today" former vice president cheney will be live with matt lauer. we could use a little good news these days. in case you missed this joy in williamsport, pennsylvania yesterday, as a team of 11-year-olds from huntington beach, california, won the little league world series. nick pratto, whose dad is the manager, drove in the winning run for the 2-1 victory over the team from japan. the win brought the championship home to the u.s. after a japanese team won it all last year. always ends up in a pile of kids. up next here for us tonight, beyonce shares some big news with the world, and sets a new modern day record for twitter traffic in the process.
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pe perhaps it was the bad weather here in the east or the relentless march of bad news, but whatever it was, last night over 12 million people watched the video music awards, and while they ran the risk of seeing lady gaga as a guy, in fact a guy who, for a time, couldn't stop talking. they also heard the big news to
come out of the event. beyonce is expecting. she broke the news on the red carpet. it quickly rocketed around the music world and among her fans. then the 16-time grammy winner launched into an all out music number, which ended with an unambiguous gesture and some ribbing for her husband jay-z from kanye on impending fatherhood. all of it according to journalist joy ann reid, managing editor of our sister website the grio, it's just a nice distraction. >> we're in sort of a recessionary climate where people are down. and now you've had a hurricane and an earthquake. i think it's good news, it's good news of the kind like the royal wedding. it's something exciting that people can vicariously be excited about without having to deal with the mundane things of life and the bad news that's all over tv. >> joanne reid on the big news from last night. there you go, a nice diversion
from all we've been covering here for days, from deposed foreign leaders to earthquakes and hurricanes. and by the way, we are thinking of our friends in new orleans tonight because this is the sixth anniversary of the arrival of katrina. that is our broadcast on a monday night. thank you for being here with us, as we start off another week. good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> i'm raj mathai. we begin with developing news, another monday, another b.a.r.t. protest. as expected for the third consecutive week, protestors gathered at san francisco's powell street station, they're on the move. our nbc chopper providing live coverage now above the scene. right now unlike previous weeks there are no station closures. that's the big difference now, as of this